Why We SalsaSubmitted Mon Oct 15 2007 08:27:19 GMT-0400 (EDT)
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E-xemplar: Customizing a DIA DashboardSubmitted Mon Jul 02 2007 17:44:04 GMT-0400 (EDT)
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E-xemplar: Earth Day Network Ramps for April 22Submitted Thu Apr 19 2007 19:08:51 GMT-0400 (EDT)
VTVigils Honors Virginia Tech VictimsSubmitted Wed Apr 18 2007 21:32:58 GMT-0400 (EDT)
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Copious Salsa DocumentationSubmitted Mon Mar 26 2007 13:01:00 GMT-0400 (EDT)
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DIA Salsa Spotlight of the Day: In-Line WYSIWYG EditorsSubmitted Fri Mar 16 2007 11:01:00 GMT-0400 (EDT)
Though it seems like a minor tweak, swapping the What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) editor from the old system in favor of a better one was a long and perilous adventure.
It's all in the editor
The WYSIWYG editor of the current system is a decent little program called TinyMCE. We did not write it; instead, we grabbed it from the great farm of available open source software. Sadly, we picked something rotten. It looked shiny and it smelled pleasant, but it was not edible. Unless you were starving. At the time we chose it we were famished. The great limitations of it are known to all of our users: from the Bush Administration-type quality control that would re-write your content to the minuscule editing window on pages that used templates, TinyMCE clearly had its upbringing at the teat of Mussolini.
. Like Mussolini, we were lying when we said it made the trains run on time. We even had to go so far as to create "features" to work around the problems caused by TinyMCE. That "disable WYSIWYG editor" was so that our users would not have to suffer through it. TinyMCE brought a lot of heartache, and that was just the daily impact we would see on our support staff. TinyMCE had to go. Under the new Salsa regime it was first against the wall. But first we needed a replacement. The new editor needed to:
- Generate really clean HTML.
- Be lightweight. (TinyMCE was a hog dipped in butter.)
- Clean out the crud that Microsoft Word generates.
- Be cross-browser compliant.
A clarion call was put out for a new editor. By this I mean I turned around in our cramped office and said, "TinyMCE blows. Any suggestions?" The response was clear: "All inline editors blow." This was not encouraging, but I was not one to give up. Every, and I mean about a dozen, open source or free editors were looked at. About a half-dozen editors with a price were tested. Rumors even started that one rogue programmer in our midst had written his own editor. The story gets even weirder: said programmer has also written his own spreadsheet application, and wears a colander on his head because he is convinced that Google is stealing all of his ideas. These were scary times. Then I discovered KTML. KTML from our friends in Romania was a godsend. Sure it cost, but it was slick and it met all of our requirements. And as a bonus they had a JSP version. Being a JSP shop this sounded good. In June 2006 we made the plunge to KTML. Happiness, briefly, reigned. Around December, our intrepid developer Erin pinged the KTML support team. In the past they generally would respond in a day or so. This time, silence. She pinged them again. The silence extended into January. Was Romania invaded? Was KTML a front for an eastern European drug syndicate? Nope. Adobe bought them. Then, Adobe summarily executed KTML for JSP. I felt dirty, alone and I panicked. AHHHHHHHHHHH. Salsa was already in an early form of its public beta at this time. Some of you even used it with KTML. Do we stick with the devil we know in TinyMCE or do we start our hunt anew? Testosterone flowed and the hunt began again. From our past crusades we knew where to look and quickly narrowed the field down to one: FCKEditor. Its name is odd, but its form is elegant. (Or as elegant as an inline editor can get.) It generates XHTML-compliant code, it's lightweight, Microsoft's mucus-laden babel is easily tackled and it works across a variety of browsers. From first glance it seemed great. Then, as we began to install it, it made us smile. When we opened its image library function we fell in love. And this is how we came to love the editor with the seemingly offensive name. Deus ex machina.
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DIA Salsa Spotlight of the Day: Email, Tags and ScoringSubmitted Thu Mar 15 2007 11:55:35 GMT-0400 (EDT)
Master BlasterIn the Salsa edition of the blaster we decided to follow a more logical approach and one that is more akin to composing and sending an email from your desktop email application. The number of steps has been reduced from six to three: Write, Target, Send. In the first step, writing your email, we've combined the ability to choose a template, set the from fields and then compose the email. The new template chooser allows you to see a preview of your template than just having to rely on a name.
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DIA Salsa Spotlight of the Day: DashboardsSubmitted Wed Mar 14 2007 14:01:45 GMT-0400 (EDT)
I want it MY way!Yeah, yeah. We've heard you. All of you. You want your own, customized, slice of DIA heaven. You loathe having to share you preferences with others in your office. Sharing is not caring in your book. Instead you have a rugged sense of individualism. We know. You are a special and unique snowflake. Well, we listened. Not only did we listen (and listen and listen and listen) but we did something about it. Salsa is about you. All about you. You and your needs. We can wait for our needs until our Guacamole release is ready.
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E-xemplar: Distributed Event Action Lands Step It Up in Grey LadySubmitted Wed Mar 14 2007 09:41:21 GMT-0400 (EDT)
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DIA Salsa Spotlight of the Day: Custom ReportsSubmitted Tue Mar 13 2007 19:17:57 GMT-0400 (EDT)
ReporteeReports can actually do some of the things that queries do, but they do a whole lot more -- because they can be run on any data object in the system. Begone, export-to-Excel-and-figure-it-out! (Naturally, you can still do that too.)
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